We had the good fortune of connecting with Brooke Mitchell-Norman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brooke, what is the most important factor behind your success?
When I first decided to create the Rewildology Podcast and brand, I knew that I could not compromise on quality. Being a conservation biologist and having no background in business strategy didn’t excuse me from building the best brand that I could. I spent three months before the show’s launch learning as much as possible – brand colors, social media strategies, logo creation, website building, and business naming (all the while learning how to create a high-quality podcast). I asked myself every day, “What special element can I add that will incline listeners to click on the show and come back over and over? How can I make my show different from every other nature podcast on the airwaves? How can I best serve my listeners and foster a community that they want to be a part of?” My no-compromise attitude and belief in my learning abilities gave me the confidence I needed to proceed into the unknown. If I didn’t know how to do something at the time, I knew I’d find a way to solve the problem.
I also used this mindset to learn the meat and potatoes of the business: podcast creation. I’m not an audio engineer, nor have I ever taken an editing class, but I knew I could not cut corners on the show’s sound. If the podcast was painful to consume, then listeners would stop streaming and switch to a different show, no matter how engaging the conversation was. Thus, in the three-month learning window before launch, I spent countless hours online learning how to use audio editing platforms, the best techniques for putting a show together, and, the funnest part of all, how to host fantastic interviews.
Lastly, I was also well aware that I could only learn so much without launching the show and collecting data for improvement. So, on January 26th, 2021, I put the podcast on the airwaves and have been constantly tweaking, improving, and learning every day according to my community’s needs.
You won’t believe the number of free and reasonably-priced resources online! If you want to learn a new skill that will take your business or career to the next level, perform a search for exactly that skill, start consuming as much as you can, take copious notes, and apply your new skills immediately. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your business evolves!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The Rewildology Podcast is different from any nature podcast you’ve listened to before. I’ve consumed many, many hours of podcasts over the years and I never found the nature podcast that I was looking for, and so I created it.
For those not in conservation, this might come as a shock to you, but most of the people in the conservation field have a great (often twisted) sense of humor, love to have drinks with friends, curse like sailors, and are rarely the straight-laced conservationists you see on TV. It’s an emotionally and physically demanding field, and to cope, conservationists laugh, unwind with a glass of wine or whiskey, and often speak completely unfiltered.
That’s what Rewildology is all about.
It’s a safe, no-rules space for conservationsits to share their stories, the cause(s) they’ve dedicated their lives to, and the struggles and triumphs they’ve experienced along the way. Imagine having a happy hour or coffee date with a close friend that loves wildlife. That’s the show!
Many people have asked me why I went to all the effort to launch Rewildology and it’s simple: I wanted to take my impact into my own hands. I lost my career job in March 2020 (we all know what that coincides with) and everything I had built across the previous three years was taken away from me without warning. The connections I had made, initiatives I built, my identity, all lost through no fault of my own. I experienced additional turmoil earlier in my career and I was tired of asking for permission from leadership. I had sat on the idea for the podcast or a similar platform for years, and it took having everything ripped away to push me into action. I decided I was going to create the show in October 2020, spent the next three months learning the trade, and launched the podcast on January 26th, 2021. Rewildology is celebrating its first birthday and I’ve never been more proud of an accomplishment. My degrees and previous accolades can’t compare!
Even if you aren’t in conservation or don’t enjoy adventure travel, you’ll be inspired by the guests on the show. Their work is incredible and they are all solving conservation issues in their own way. Scientists, photographers, filmmakers, non-profit directors, business owners, nature guides from all around the world have been on and I’m awed by every single one. Check out the show and see who speaks to you.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When anyone comes to visit me in Colorado, they experience all the highlights. RiNo is my favorite part of Denver, and at least one day dedicated to exploring the area. We’d start at Lekker Coffee & Watering Hole (shoutout to my girl, Kara), then eat and drink until we can’t any longer and need to take a Lyft or Uber back home. We’d also have several days in nature – one day dedicated to Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park, another to Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, and an overnight rental somewhere in Summit County. Anyone that visits me knows they’re going to need a vacation from their vacation because we’ll be eating, drinking, and playing in nature the entire time. I have lots of visitors because of all this fun! Colorado is an amazing state with so much to do and I know I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’m so excited to keep discovering new hidden gems and sharing them with those that I know will enjoy them, too.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without question, Bill Given deserves recognition for helping me through my journey. I met Bill when I moved to Colorado in 2015 and he’s been my mentor ever since. Bill is a wildlife biologist and founder of The Wild Source. We bonded over our mutual admiration of big cats and our shared belief in using tourism for conservation and community empowerment. He allowed me to complete several graduate projects through his company and I now have the pleasure of working for The Wild Source as the Director of Conservation. I doubt I’d be where I am today without his thoughtful guidance through the years.
Secondly, I want to give a special shoutout to my husband, Lee, who’s been patient and supportive through all of my crazy ideas, adventures around the world, and unforeseen job changes. He never told me that I couldn’t launch Rewildology and has watched me grow as the platform expands. He celebrates my wins with me and holds me through loss.
To everyone else that’s sent me encouraging words – thank you. It means more than I could ever say!
Professional Brooke Headshots by Alex Gradisher
Wildlife Shots by Brooke